Monday, 29 April 2013

Part with $4000 and gain $3000...haha

Our lot in Livingston is secured (for now)!

We have handed over the remainder of the deposit on the weekend and took a little trip to Austral bricks.
We had a 2011 catalogue from our builder that showed the standard range and I was secretly hoping that Austral Bricks would say "we have much better colours in standard these days" but they didn't. To my amusement the rep there said "why do these builders keep throwing in the ugly bricks as 'standard'?"
I couldn't agree more....we are really trying to keep to standard selections but these RED shades are so old!
After being at the store I am paying really close attention to houses around me and analysing bricks. How excitement...and I really don't want RED! 
So this will be a discussion point for the selections appointment!

I received a return phone call from our home consultant in regards to the email I sent him a couple of days ago.
It appeared he had a memory lapse in regards to changing our ensuite fit out and changing the floor coverings. He advised he would make some variations (at no cost to me) and send it through.
He confirmed that our 900ml appliances in the kitchen will be included and we actually secured them for a good price and these will be purchased under our $2000 allocated allowance at our selections appointment, leaving over half left over for hopefully...a glass splash back!
I was also looking over our contract for our evaporative cooling system....yep, I threw that one in the email to. We have no plans on spending big at the selections appointment so it important to us to get the air-con in our mortgage.

Now if you live in Victoria and you are looking at building you would be happy to know that the State Government is hiking up the First Home Owners Grant to $10000 (from $7000) from the 1st of July this year and decreasing the stamp duty 40% which wasn't going to happen until January 2014.

Yay!! That's us....! That would be an extra $3000 we have for items except for that we are due to sign our contract BEFORE July which would make us ineligible...aaaaahhhh!

Ok, so I might have been a bit sneaky and left a message with our builders office that I need to reschedule the appointment next month to sometime after July...she hasn't called me back yet so I haven't had to think of an excuse but I have run this past our builder and he sees no reason why we can't reschedule until after 1st July because our land titles won't be ready for a few more months anyway (and he said he would have done the same thing!). So, that's that...

Still haven't heard about finance as yet :-/

Friday, 26 April 2013

The Building Contract arrives....

So we receive this large express post envelope today....

The contents:
HIA Building Contract, Electrical Plans, External and Internal house plans.

How exciting! We have ages to wait for our land to be ready so these short bursts of excitement from now until then will be few and far between I am thinking.

It turns out this is not one of those times...
You know how we all are reading on those forums about all the problems the 'buyer' is discovering with the builder and because we are so new in the process we make that mental note "I know how to avoid this happening to me now"....well I didn't know enough to make that side note!


In our ensuite we decided to change our plan a bit by removing the surrounding walls around the toilet and remove the second window so the bathroom didn't feel so closed in. We also added an ensuite door. We aren't really into this new "open plan" living of ensuites with no doors, especially when our ensuite shower is opposite our bedroom window! I straight away notice that this change isn't on the plan...

Next - our plans are showing floorboards and carpet. The discussion was TILES and carpet!

Finally - Where are our 900ml upgrades of appliances to the kitchen? Missing and replaced by the standard 600ml..grrr!

Ok, ok so I am over-reacting. I start breaking this problem down and my main concern is the ensuite because we have been advised by our builder when we signed our Preliminary Works Contract that we can't make any further structural changes unless we pay upfront.
 I believe knocking down 2 walls would be a structural change!

Reading this HIA Building Contract is really got my head spinning! Tonight my plan consists of combing through the homeone forum and typing explicit words ending in contract in to Google to see what I can find to help me understand. We are due to sign this contract at our selections appointment next month and I want to have a full understanding....especially about the part on page 3 that says "these costs are not fixed" but my home consultant told me a couple of times at our last appointment that the costs ARE fixed!

I think there will be minimal changes to our electrical plan though. So far we are thinking we will just add another power point to the master bedroom, living room and outdoor living as we plan to have our sparky friend carry out the work.

So anyway, I have sent an email to our home consultant with my questions and concerns tonight. 

Tomorrow we meet with the Land Office representative where our lot is and hand over a bank cheque for $4000 to lock in our deposit. Thankfully it is all subject to finance...
Can you believe we STILL don't know the outcome!!!??

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Land Title delay

As I write this today, we still haven't heard about our finance! We are continually reassured with "you guys will be is just busy"....yep yep.

What we do know thanks to a letter we received is that stage 5A in the Livingston estate is already delayed! Originally titles would be ready August 2013. Now it's October 2013.

I am actually glad we have that notice now...more time to save for some extras we might want!

Designer Spas RelaxerGetting a spa on my wish list would be nice :-)

Monday, 22 April 2013

Phone calls and papers....

So....ummm what next? We chose the builder, the house and the land...

We had two weeks that our lot would be secured for before we had to return to sign land contracts.
Those 2 weeks were a whirl wind!

We decided to apply for finance through Resolve Finance which is a sister company to Homebuyers Centre. We felt they had a good reputation, were a solid company and as they were located in the same building giving preference to Homebuyers Centre could work well!

We met with the finance consultant. He kindly came out to our home and we supplied all of our documents and signed the consultant's documents. Our loan would now be lodged.

Waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting. By the way, we are still waiting on the outcome!
We have been advised that the lenders are very busy....hmm. We are doing our best to be patient... it's been just over a month.

In the meantime though our Home Consultant was in full swing, having us choose our front house fa├žade and tweeking floor plans.
It turned out that in the Livingston estate the driveway is required to be on the right hand side (if you were looking head on at the house) and the standard design has the garage/driveway on the left hand side.

"Don't worry!" said our home consultant, we will just flip it! But...what about the north facing sun? "Hmmm... leave it with me". A week or so later we have a new plan that had the front part of the house flipped and the back of the house remaining the same so we benefit from that north sun. As the flip couldn't be symmetrical it meant that we gained a bit more length to the house and an extra large walk in pantry! No complaints here!

We attended an appointment with our home consultant in Officer to gain information on our costings and sign the Preliminary Works Contract.
We were happily surprised with the outcome of the FIXED costs. We added Eaves to our choices for the house and selected a section of the front of the house that we would like rendered (as per our development guidelines we had to do this).

We were starting to see this come together.
The land we selected doesn't title until August 2013 which was a real positive for us so that we didn't feel rushed and we could continue to save.

We attended the land office and signed the contracts, subject to finance (with a 90 day clause).
They gave us a folder with a fancy pen each and a red sold sticker. all felt inappropriate seeings as we had no idea about the finance outcome.

I still find it completely odd how this house/land/finance order is done completely backwards!

A copy of the land contracts were sent to a conveyencer we were recommended to and we had mail from them within the week with MORE contracts to sign (and paperwork including our First Home Owners Grant and Land Transfer).

To be honest this stage has been so up and down. Do we get excited? We have gone through stages of preparing and researching colours/fittings to stages of normality in case it doesn't work out. It is a real rollercoaster of emotions!

We have been told that building could potentially start in September and an average build takes 16 weeks. I am thinking with wet weather at that time of year and Christmas shut down we would be finished by February 2014.

So as I write this post we haven't done anything further and we are still waiting on the finance outcome.

Our consultant from Resolve told us last night (when I sent a WHAT THA?) email that we should have an outcome next week in regards to our loan.

We also have our pre-selection appointment booked with a design consultant for the 21st May 2013.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Decisions, decisions...

So we worked out that it's possible.

After a bit of research (a lot!), many discussions and some counting of numbers we worked out that we could defy the odds and continue to rent while saving and potentially building our first house.

We had agreed on buying an established house early on in the game though with one walk through of a display village we were set on building our own. There is something special about your house being yours and never having been someone else's that we were keen to set up our territory!

We decided on a house and land package. It made sense. We could work off a template, give it a few tweeks and get a fixed price that suited our budget with the reassurance that it can't go terribly wrong because our house design has been built many times before!
So who is the lucky potential builder?

We checked out one well known building group...we knew that with minimal "standards" and so many "extras" that need to be "standards" that this job could get driveway? Come on!

For this reason - Homebuyers Centre (VIC) caught our eye.
Driveway included, quality "standard" fittings and materials were obvious in their display centres, not to mention the window blinds and fittings (and flyscreens!) being part of the standard package.

So we met with our home consultant in their head office for the first time.
A familiar face, down to earth and there to get the job done.
"Pick a design" he said, "We have heaps" he continued..."What about this one?"


The description as displayed on
The Aston captures the essence of contemporary design and space. Multiple living areas sets this four bedroom home apart with a separate family retreat in addition to a light-filled open plan dining and living space. A perfect balance between modern style and thoughtful layout places the Aston at a new benchmark for family living.

So we put this one on the top of the wish list ready to visit in a display village over an hour away!
No stopping there though...

"WHERE do you both want to live?"

Now we have had a lot of time to think about this and be realistic. We are not spending $800,000 on our first experiment which gives us no choice but to move out further South as we both work full time and need to be within a reasonable distance from work.

After a few visits here and there, discussions at many land offices we decided on Cranbourne East, more specifically the Livingston Estate.

The Lot we chose is perfect! Located at the very end of what will be a 'no through road' with a small park across the road to one side of us and a neighbour in a single story on the  other.

The space measures at 534sqm which is at the larger end of choices believe it or not!
After inspecting the dirt we put our $1000 holding deposit down on 10th March 2013 and let out a sigh of relief....